Learning About Spaces (06-09-21)

Miola and teammates set out to better understand how the form of a place influences the ease with which we learn its spatial information.  The group reports that “Field of view (FOV) allows us to perceive and learn our environment. Reducing the visual field impairs our ability to estimate distance and direction. It has been demonstrated that distance is estimated more accurately in outdoor environment (a lawn) than in indoors (hallway or lobby). . . . We studied route learning in Venice where features may or may not restrict the width of environment [the openness of the environemnt that extends into periphery]. . . .participants learned narrow and wide routes from videos, then performed various spatial recall tasks. Results showed that environmental features that restricted the width of environment impaired participants’ pointing performance, and the metric properties of their mental representations. This study newly shows that environmental features naturally restricting the width of environment can influence the ability to form spatial mental representations.”

Laura Miola, Chiara Meneghetti, Valerie Gyselinck, Federica Curcio, and Francesca Pazzaglia.  “The Influence of Environmental Context on Spatial Learning.  Openness of the Environment and Spatial Mental Representations in the City of Venice.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101629